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Structural change called for

In what seems to be emerging as a top issue for the 77th General Convention, some 54 resolutions have been submitted calling for some form of structural change for The Episcopal Church. This includes resolutions from 45 of the church’s 110 dioceses.

Many, as in the Diocese of West Texas resolution C051, call for a special commission to be appointed within 30 days of General Convention’s adjournment that would be charged with presenting a plan to the Church for “reforming its structures, governance, administration, and staff” in order to focus on mission and ministry “in a way that maximizes the resources available for that mission at all levels of this church.”

A number of other ways have been suggested to approach work on structural change including a call for a constitutional convention.

At a Committee on Structure – one of the church’s standing committees –  hearing on the subject on the evening of July 5, 40 or more persons signed up to address the issue, many saying that the call for structural reform is a grassroots movement.  “Something needs to change,” said the Rev. Adam Trambley, deputy from the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. “We need to look at different ways to engage.” Daniel Land from the Diocese of Wyoming said that “there are signs that everything is not OK in The Episcopal Church, and it is important for this church to take a new and radical look at its structure.”

Speaking in support of the Diocese of West Texas resolution, Alternate Deputy Kelley Kimble said that she has asked when the last time was that the Church looked at its structure, and “no one seems to know the answer.

Kelley Kimble addresses Structure Committee hearing.

 

“There is no question that our church has changed,” said Kimble. “There is no question that to model the Kingdom of God in today’s world, we must be flexible and agile.”

Kimble said that her day job is as a family law judge, an area of law that has undergone a tremendous change of circumstances in the last 30 years. “We are no longer a nuclear family with the father as breadwinner and mother as caregiver. In order to care for our children and raise healthy young adults we have had to dramatically change our approach to the structure of a family. I suggest that the same concepts apply [to The Episcopal Church].

“A healthy system,” said Kimble, “would not reflect our current statistics. The future of our church depends on us as a healthy and changing organism. We must promote financial health, spiritual health and emotional health.”

The Committee will continue to consider the many resolutions before it before sending on one or more to the House of Deputies later this week.

 

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